Within the Raging Winds and Storm

2:54 PMHeather

The winds of hardship are blowing fiercely in the lives of so many of you.  The windows of your life are rattling in the wake of it.  The rain is pounding and the water is rising.  The peals of thunder drown out any shred of hope.  The lightening only briefly brightens a very dark sky.  And rather than illuminating your way, it merely highlights how dismal things seem in contrast. 

The winds of cancer and leaukemia.  The winds of past wounds and disappointments, picking up force and blowing you about.  The rain of dreams not yet fulfilled and just the tedious mundane.  The skies have darkened and the gloom overshadows your every day. 

You are thick in the storms of life, bloggy friends.  I know it.  I've heard your cries and I hurt for you.  For the moms facing issues with their kids, health or mental health or otherwise.  For the daughters whose parents are aging and sick.  For the sisters who family member is struggling.  For the ones who are grieving and heartbroken and overwhelmed.  For the people whose jobs like the weight of the world.

It's a hard hard thing to endure...the tempests of the wind and rain in the relentless storm.

You were all on my mind as I read Luke 8:22-25 today.

One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out.  (23) As they sailed, he fell asleep.  A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. (24) The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  (25)"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement, they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

Today, I want to do something a little different.  I want us to walk together through these verses, asking ourselves some hard questions.  Seeing with fresh eyes the truth of this passage. You might even want to grab a piece or paper or your journal and write out your thoughts. 

1.  Verse 22: Jesus takes the lead...and the disciples follow. 
Do you?  Do you let Jesus take the lead?  Do you follow? 

If Jesus says let's go to the other side, do you?  Or are you fighting him on the paths he has for you?  

Do you allow him to take you to the other side of the lake?  

What lakes are you unwilling to venture across?
  
RIGHT NOW--what things feel like the lake you do not want to be in the middle of?

That we could ask the Lord to help us get into the boat.  And set out where he leads.  Trusting his guiding hand and omniscient wisdom. Surrendered to his sovereignty.

2. Verse 23: The squalls came down and they were in great danger.
What squalls are rocking your boat? 

Where do you feel swamped?

What great danger is pressing in on you?

What are you afraid of at this time? Name it.  Identify it.  Be specific.

3. Verse 24: The disciples are frantically pleading with Jesus.
Does that sound like you?  Are you in a season where you are yelling, "Master! Master!  I am going to drown!"

What circumstances are so threatening to you that you are nearly beside yourself?

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.
The disciples didn't get it.  And neither do we.  

We forget who is in our boat.

When it seems as if the Lord is asleep on the job, we think that means that he is not able.  That he is unwilling.  That the storm is bigger than our God.

We forget that just because it hasn't happened yet does not mean it won't happen.  Just because we are in the middle of the storm does not mean he cannot calm it.

Because we forget that no storm is greater than He is.

We forget that in HIS time, according to HIS plan--not a minute sooner, and not a minute too late--He will rebuke the winds.

He will rebuke the raging waters.

He will calm the storm and it will subside.

Because no matter the magnitude or nature of the storm, he is ALWAYS, ALWAYS the Ultimate Victor over every storm. Forevermore. 

No storm in life can match his power.  He has the power to speak a world into existence and to make the wind and waves obey with the sound of his voice.

Just because he hasn't done it yet, doesn't mean he can't do it.

His salvation is coming.  You can count on that.  And not a temporary one.  But an everlasting one.  

4. Verse 25: Where is your faith? he asks.
He asks us this question as we react to the storms.  Is our faith in the power of the storm and in the circumstances?

OR, can we choose to trust his greater and matchless power over every storm?

Can we boldly say, in the very heart of our pain and suffering and angst, I choose YOU, God?  I choose to praise you and follow you and trust you.  Not matter what.

IF we see God for who he really is and take him at his word, then we will always have faith in his omnipotent power over every storm.  Well aware that not even death can defeat him.

The disciples wondered who he was, in fear and amazement, when they saw with fresh eyes the power of Jesus over the wind and the waves.
Fresh eyes.  Eyes to see.  That is what we need.  We don't need an escape or exit.  We already have one.  We don't need a Savior.  We already have him.  Even if it feels as though he is asleep, he's still in our boat.

May we plead with the Lord to not take away the storms but to give us a proper perspective within them.  To give us an ability to see his majestic power.  Asking him to teach us who he really is.  
Helping our unbelief that he is indeed the One whom all of creation must obey. 

We are a here and now people.  Who tend to see only the struggles in the here and now.  Who tend to have tunnel vision to the crashing waves and the raging wind.  Who tend to feel the great danger and react with great fear.  And frantic prayers--Master! Master!  We're going to drown!"

We feel ourselves sinking and the boat is swamped.

But we forget. 

We forget who we have in our boat.  We forget that he promises to never leave or forsake us.  We forget in our storms that he is indeed right there with us.  

We, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, see the flames.  We feel the heat.  We nearly miss the fourth person in the fiery trials with us who will ultimately rescue us.  

We see the giant in front of us.  And we shrink God.  David's victory over Goliath did not come because he had no fear of that giant.  David's courage and bravery to fight and win came because he saw a God who was bigger.  He had a right perspective of the One in the boat with him. 

The disciples wept and mourned and felt abandoned when Jesus died on the cross.  Because even though he had been with them and seen him raise the dead and heal the sick and make the blind to see...they didn't realize who he really was.

They had yet to experience the fear and amazement at what Jesus could really do and who Jesus really was.

The one who is greater.  

Greater than any storm.  

Bigger than any giant.

More powerful than any force coming against us.

We sit in the storms, soaked the bone.  We want the storm to pass. We are frantic for the wind and waves to stop.

And we forget.

Sometimes, we have to be willing to go into the middle of the lake. To experience the storms.  To feel the fear.  Before we have a fresh revelation of the magnitude of the movements of God.

Before we see with our own eyes how heaven can indeed reach into earth.

We live defeated in our storms when the Victor stands right next to us.

May it not be so.

May we cling to this verse and believe every last word of it for the truth and freedom it brings. May we throw every last ounce of courage and hope onto the power of our Almighty, Everlasting, All Powerful God.

But now, this is what the Lord says-- he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel; "Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are MINE. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will NOT sweep over you, when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.  Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
Isaiah 43:1-5a

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